Match Report: 2011/2012 Season

17 September 2011: CHAMPIONSHIP
Reading: Church (52 mins), Le Fondre (59 mins).
Doncaster: -
Half Time: 0-0.

Attendance: 15,124

Pos Team P Pts GD
13 Birmingham 5 7 +1
14 READING 7 7 -1
15 Millwall 7 7 -2
Reading: A Federici, K Gorkss, A Pearce, J Mills, S Cummings, J McAnuff, M Leigertwood, J Tabb, J Kebe (A Le Fondre, 41), N Hunt, S Church.
Subs not used: M Manset, B Gunnarsson, B Howard, A McCarthy.
Doncaster: N Sullivan, S Martis, J O'Connor, T Spurr (S Hird, 79), G Friend, S Gillett, J Coppinger, J Oster, G Barnes (B Stock, 79), J Hayter, K Bennett (M Lalkovic, 54).
Subs not used: G Woods, M Wilson.
Reading: -
Doncaster: Hayter, Lalkovic.
Ref: Graham Salisbury.
A well-taken goal by new signing Adam Le Fondre sealed a much needed first home of the season for the Royals. It was a thoroughly deserved win for players and fans alike. Following the abysmal home defeat last week at home to Watford Brian McDermott made bold changes bringing in Tabb, Cummings, Church and Hunt. It was in every sense a complete performance and the fans were rewarded for their patience and loyalty in recent weeks with an enjoyable victory.

Sensing a need to lift their team the home crowd were in good voice from the start and the players responded by pinning their opponents in their own half for most of the first half. Church had probably his best game in a Reading shirt. He challenged for every ball in the air, closed players down and was hungry for the ball whenever Reading were in possession making penetrating runs with and without the ball. His first significant contribution saw him beat a player on the right and send over a perfect cross for Kebe at the far post. Although Kebe's header was firm, it was at a nice height for Sullivan to save. Minutes later he again delivered a great cross, this time Hunt failed to hit the target with his header. McAnuff raced through the middle of the Rovers midfield and was denied a scoring opportunity by a crude foul which remarkably went unpunished by a very lenient referee. Sullivan did his best to alleviate the pressure by delaying his goal kicks as did his team mates with throw-ins. Church popped up on the left and found himself with a good chance which he wasted with a tame shot. He spurned an even better chance when he ran onto a long ball from McAnuff. Unfortunately he ran in a straight line and delayed his shot which made him an easy target for the covering defender and his effort was blocked. Leigertwood beginning to show glimpses of last season's form and burst through to hit a low shot just wide of the upright. Kebe was looking very lively too but his appearance came to an end just before half time when he limped off injured to be replaced by Le Fondre. Church was denied a tap in after Sullivan made a good low save but the keeper reacted smartly to flick the loose ball to safety. The chances kept coming and going and there was a nagging doubt that the goal might not come as the half ended goalless.

The second half saw Le Fondre and Church linking well to threaten the Rovers back four. Finally the pressure paid off as Sullivan fumbled the ball allowing Church to score a well deserved if scrappy goal with a simple tap-in. Seven minutes later Mills curled in an inviting cross which Le Fondre converted in to a goal with a text book downward header across the goal and just inside the post beyond Sullivan's reach. Rovers had not looked likely to score at any point and although they did manage a couple of attacks Federici did not have a save to make in the entire match. Even when Rovers were pressing to score towards the end, Reading's defending was much more committed and determined with players making crucial blocks and tackles.The home fans expressed their approval and relief as the final whistle went. The players soaked up the deserved applause. Everyone went home happy.

It was good to see everyone back on their game. McAnuff's work rate made him look worthy of the captaincy. Cummings and Tabb had very effective games and although Mills had a couple of lapses in concentration he played well overall producing some very good crosses. The most pleasing performance came from Church but it I am puzzled why he has not played like this before. We can now expect more of the same from the young welsh striker. With new players coming in Reading are only at the beginning of a period of transition but this win provides some encouragement for all concerned.
John Wells

After last weeks debacle against Watford, against a truly dreadful Doncaster Rovers side the Royals thankfully returned to winning ways. Hopefully this game will restore some confidence and get us back to reasonable form after the dreadful start to the season. Old codgers Harte and Griffin were rightly dropped and could well see their days numbered after good performances from Mills and Cummings. Church worked his socks off upfront and was worth his goal. With Kebe going off with what looked like a stained little toe, Alfie came on and scored a tremendous header after good work from Mills and Cummings, great goal. There was much better work effort this week and hopefully McDott put a proverbial rocket up their backsides after last week which paid off. Still lots of work to do but from the depths of the league we catapult up to mid table after this win. Next two away games will be far more of a test but let's hope we pick up some points. Keep the faith.
Nick Newbury

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Second-half goals from Simon Church and Adam Le Fondre ended Reading's four-match losing streak while Doncaster remain rooted to the foot of the table. Reading started brightly, with Jimmy Kebe forcing Neil Sullivan in the Doncaster goal into an early save. Having squandered an early one-on-one Church made up for it tapping in from close range after Sullivan's fumble. Le Fondre doubled their lead after heading Joseph Mills' cross home for his first goal for his new club. Doncaster rallied a little late on, with James Coppinger firing against the post, but it was an isolated moment in a display of comfortable control from Reading. The result leaves Doncaster still searching for their first league victory while Reading earned only their second win of the season, moving up to 14th in the Championship.
BBC Sport